Celebrating the true intent of “sipat” in the Cordillera
Cordillerans will commemorate the 36th anniversary of the sipat that marked the signing of peace agreement between the government and the Cordillera People’s Liberation Army (CPLA) at Mount Data Hotel, Bauko, Mountain Province on Sept. 13, 1986.
The sipat paved the way for the signing of Executive Order 220 on July 15, 1987 by then President Corazon Aquino, which marks the genuine Cordillera Day.
The late mayor Gabino Ganggangan of Sadanga, Mountain Province and former CPLA leader has provided us with a reliable narrative on what transpired during the sipat where he disclosed that this came after Fr. Conrado Balweg formed the Cordillera Bodong Administration (CBA) after defecting from the New People’s Army in 1984 because the latter’s agenda was not consistent with the CPLA’s objective to promote unity and regional autonomy.
These objectives should be the highlight of annual commemoration of the sipat.
Let it not be tainted again by groups riding on the legitimate struggles of Cordillera leaders to promote peace in the region when in fact, they are supporting those that the CPLA despised for insisting on pursuing an armed revolution.
The commemoration of the sipat is a reminder for Cordillerans to preserve the peace brought by the historic event at Mount Data in 1986 that ended hostilities between the government troops and armed group.
This year’s celebration should be a venue for Cordillerans to renew their commitment in taking active part in maintaining peace and sustaining the momentum towards realizing genuine regional autonomy. — CRISTINA CATBAGAN, chair, Nagkakaisang Samahan Para sa Kapayapaan at Kaunlaran